Kenya boasts of some of the world’s best middle and long-distance runners.
Unfortunately, however, more than 40 of its athletes have failed drug tests since 2012 and its athletics federation has been mired in corruption scandals linked to doping.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed Kenya from its list of nations deemed ‘non-compliant’ with its doping code this month after the country’s parliament introduced new legislation to punish drug cheats.
However, new happenings at the Rio 2016 Olympics may paint that decision as immature.
Kenya’s sprint coach John Anzrah has been sent home after he allegedly showed up and presented himself as Ferguson Rotich (a track and fielder who is gunning for a medal in the 800m race). He had even allegedly signed documents as Rotich and then provided urine samples for a doping test for him.
His country denounced him and sent him home with the chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), Kip Keino, saying that they could not tolerate such behavior.
The chairman further revealed that the committee had not facilitated Anzrah’s travel to Brazil, adding: “We don’t even know how he came here.”
Ferguson Rotich whose place Anzrah had taken, had finished fourth at the World Championships in Beijing last year and should race in today’s heats.
His agent, Marc Corstjemns, who maintains the non-involvement of Rotich in Anzrah’s ‘mischief’ said that Rotich had simply lent Anzrah his pass so that the coach could get a free breakfast in the Olympic Village on Wednesday.
John Anzrah who was then allegedly approached by a doping control officer looking for Rotich to provide a urine sample presented himself as such and provided the urine sample. Marc Corstjens said;
“Ferguson is completely confused as to why he would do this but the good news is that he found out straight away and went to the drug-tester and gave them blood and urine samples,”
The International Olympic Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings into the matter, but praised Kenya’s Olympic body for its “swift action”.
John Anzrah is now the second Kenyan official to be sent home over doping issues. He followed track and field manager Michael Rotich who was dismissed following allegations that he was prepared to warn coaches about drugs tests in return for £10,000.